10 Immunity-boosting Foods That You Need to Include in Your Diet Plan
Immunity is the ability of the human body to resist harmful microorganisms like bacteria, germs and other pathogens. The immune system is not fully developed at the time of birth, but gradually matures over the initial years of life. Therefore, the early life of an infant is an important phase in building the body’s immunity system. The immune system also regulates the immune responses against harmless external triggers such as food, or the bodies’ own tissue. This helps to fight against specific allergies; sometimes developed by the body.
70-80% of our body’s immune cells, ie, approximately 100 trillion gut bacteria, live in our gut and make up the gut microbiota ecosystem. The development of a powerful immune system directly depends on our gut health, which is closely linked to nutrition during the early years of life. Healthy eating habits will act as a catalyst in building and keeping up the immunity of the body. Having a strong immunity will help fight seasonal health problems as well as chronic and life-threatening diseases like cancer and tumors.
The function of the immune system is just like air. If it is working properly, its presence isn’t felt, but any lack of immunity can cause serious illnesses. The immune system gets activated once it cannot recognize anything as its own. Therefore, the immune system has very crucial functions for the body, such as fighting against harmful disease-causing bacteria, pathogens, germs, viruses, fungi, etc. Moreover, having strong immunity will also fight back cancer cells.
Since nutrition is one of the most important ways to build and strengthen immunity, following a Pescatarian Diet like fresh, green, leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, sometimes fish, and other sea-foods, all contribute to better immunity . Moreover, practicing healthy habits like sufficient sleep of 6-8 hours each night, exercising daily, eating healthy diet, intake of necessary vitamins and supplements, and adequate hydration are synonyms for maintaining gut health. As good gut health will ensure good immunity.
So here are ten immunity-boosting foods that you should include in your daily diet.
Citrus Fruits: Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C; a vitamin that is known to build and boost immunity. Vitamin C is usually prescribed when a person is caught with flu, cold, cough or other infections only because it helps increase the production of white blood cells. White blood cells are bound to fight infections. A constant or daily supply of vitamin C is needed by the body since it cannot be stored. Lemons, grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, limes are some commonly found citrus fruits rich in vitamin C. The recommended daily amount of vitamin C for men is 90 mg and for women is 75 mg respectively. Having a glass of warm water with lemon on an empty stomach is good for immunity, metabolism and skin health.
Red Bell Peppers : Among the three, red bell peppers have an abundant amount of vitamin C. As known, vitamin C boosts immunity as well as maintains healthy and glowing skin. Red bell peppers are also a rich source of beta carotene . Beta carotene, which gets converted into vitamin A, helps keep the eyes and skin healthy.
Broccoli: Broccoli is one vegetable that most people don’t want or like to eat. But once a person gets to know how supercharged with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants this green vegetable is, they cannot avoid it ever. Broccoli is rich in vitamin A, C, E, as well as high in fiber, minerals and antioxidants. Broccoli is the healthiest green vegetable you can add to your diet. Thus, this veggie is a complete package. Eating steamed broccoli is the best way to retain its nutrients.
Garlic: Garlic is a common and key ingredient in most dishes in almost every household. It is known to have infection-fighting properties. Some also believe it lowers high blood pressure. Garlic has immune-boosting properties due to a very high percentage of sulfur-containing compounds in it, known as allicin. Thus, including garlic in your recipes is the easiest way to build and boost immunity.
Ginger: Ginger is an ancient ayurvedic ingredient for curing sore throat, nausea, as well as inflammation. Ginger is another ingredient that many people use in their cooking. It has gingerol, which gives ginger some heat. Hence used for curing throat infections. It is also used while preparing certain types of teas and sweet desserts. Ginger is also known to possess cholesterol lowering properties and reduce chronic pain. Thus, ginger is an easy and simple food that strengthens the immune system.
Spinach: Not only is spinach high in iron, but also loaded with vitamin C, numerous antioxidants and beta carotene. All of this increases the infection-fighting ability of the immune system. Therefore, including spinach as much as possible in your choice of salads, spreads, breads, curries, smoothies, pies, etc., will build immunity. Spinach is the best when consumed raw or very less cooked.
Yogurt: Among other types, Greek yogurt is known to be the healthiest. It is rich in protein, iron, calcium, and vitamin D. The amazing thing about yogurt is that it can be cooked and consumed in a variety of ways. It can be eaten directly, or used as a base in curries, as an active ingredient in smoothies, and loads of other recipes and food preparations. Yogurt keeps the gut healthy which is the most important for the immune cells.
Almonds: Almonds have a high content of vitamin E which is used for preventing and fighting off colds. It has antioxidants that build and boost the immune system. Hence, approximately 15 mg of vitamin E in the form of almonds can be included in the diet for immunity.
Turmeric: Turmeric is a yellow-colored spice which gives color and a unique taste in many curries around the world. It has high concentrations of curcumin, which gives it the distinctive color. This compound helps to ease out the exercise-induced muscle cramps. Turmeric is antiviral and thus a powerful immuno-boosting spice. Having turmeric milk at night is a good habit as it builds immunity and induces sleep too.
Poultry: If you are a meat-eater, poultry, such as chicken and turkey, are a source of immunity booster foods. Animal meats such as chicken and turkey are high in vitamin B-6. Vitamin B-6 helps to carry numerous chemical reactions in the body and is required in the formation of red blood cells. Thus, having chicken soup when feeling down with cold can have positive benefits on health and immunity.
Therefore, taking a healthy and immunity-boosting diet will maintain gut health and provide strength to the body during flu or other widespread infections. Eating right and in adequate quantities will go a long way in boosting health and immunity. Vmeals can be looked up for some extra tips and diet options and ideas.